Creative Chats: A Peek into Fiona's Mixed Media Art Journey
Meet Fiona Ehn, a primarily self-taught New Zealand artist based in the rural settlement of Waitoki, just north of Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland. She specialises in mixed media art, creating works with loads of texture, bold colours, and an upbeat twist. The versatility of mixed media art allows Fiona to express her creativity in unique ways, incorporating different materials and techniques to build layers, add depth, and create contrasts within the artwork.
Much of Fiona’s work features retro fashion icons, inspired by the beautiful style and form predominantly from the middle decades of the 20th century. Recently, we caught up with Fiona for a Creative Chats interview, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions about her life and art.
Nurturing Creativity: Fiona's Unconventional Muse
In moments when Fiona Ehn finds herself uninspired to create art, she reflects on the diverse avenues that fuel her creative spirit. In her words, “I’ve always had a deep motivation to create.” Initially drawn to classical piano, Fiona explored various creative outlets, discovering joy in each. However, visual arts eventually emerged as her foremost mode of expression.
When seeking to reignite her creative mojo, Fiona turns to spontaneity for inspiration. Recounting an adventurous chapter from her life, she shared, “I worked for an airline for a while and I’d head out to the airport with my camera not knowing what flight I could get on.” One memorable escapade led her not to Vancouver or Hong Kong as anticipated but to Vegas, where a car ride through the awe-inspiring landscapes of Arizona and Utah became a wellspring of inspiration.
The Motivation Behind the Art
For Fiona, creating art is not just a hobby; it's a deeply fulfilling pursuit. Despite a successful career in the Financial Services sector, she finds balance and joy in her artistic endeavours. As she puts it, “There is nothing more rewarding seeing someone’s face light up when they find a piece that they connect with.”
Her biggest ambition as an artist? Giving back. Fiona dreams of leveraging her artistic skills to support the progression of arts in Aotearoa once she transitions from her corporate career. Fiona shared, "I’m privileged to enjoy a successful corporate career, but when it comes to my art, my biggest ambition is to give back. I get no greater reward than being able to use my art practice to help others."
Crafting Success: Fiona's Artistic Achievements
When asked about her most cherished career success, Fiona humbly acknowledged, “Being acknowledged by winning art awards is always the best!” Her collection of accolades includes a notable triumph – the Premier Award at the Estuary Art Centre in 2019.
Reflecting on the global reach of her art, Fiona shared, “The primary countries my art has ended up in are New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.” This international recognition speaks to the universal appeal of her creations, transcending borders and resonating with art enthusiasts across diverse landscapes.
Dispensing valuable advice gleaned from her artistic journey, Fiona offered, “Just have a go. Don’t be worried about putting yourself out there.” She emphasised the subjective nature of art appreciation, recognising that while some may passionately connect with an artist's work, others may have different tastes. Fiona's words echo the wisdom she received: “Focus on creating the beauty and don’t obsess with the flaws.”
Drawing Inspiration from Life and Fashion
Fiona's art is a celebration of life, often featuring animals and local wildlife. However, her true passion lies in exploring female characters, especially those inspired by the mid-20th-century fashion icons.
I love capturing living forms and the expression portrayed through the eyes. I have a deep love of animals so a large body of my work depicts animals and local wildlife. But, most of all I’m drawn to exploring female characters: From whimsical girls to the style fashion icons from the mid 20th century - a period where women were becoming more confident, empowered and there was an increasing recognition of their contribution to the world stage,” Fiona shared.
The Artistic Process: From Concept to Creation
Delving into Fiona's creative process, she emphasises the importance of texture in her work. Mixed media art allows her to experiment with various materials like newspapers, clays, and gels, creating multi-dimensional masterpieces.
“I spend a lot of time thinking about the concept before I go anywhere near the studio. What is my concept, and what emotion am I trying to evoke?” Fiona shared. Her process involves meticulous planning, but the journey often leads to surprises and unexpected beauty.
Showcasing Fiona's Art: Galleries and Exhibitions
Fiona's art finds a home in various galleries, including local art exhibitions in Auckland, such as MAGS and Baradene. She showcases her work at Of Hand And Heart in Warkworth and the Estuary Art Centre in Orewa. Once a year, she participates in the Art in August exhibition at the Warkworth Oaks, featuring a curated collection alongside talented local and South Island artists.
Embracing the Beauty of Mixed Media Art
In conclusion, Fiona Ehn's artistic journey is a testament to the joy and fulfilment found in creative expression. Her mixed media art, with its vibrant colours and rich textures, captures the essence of life and the enduring style of bygone eras.
As you explore Fiona's artistic world, we invite you to check out her Doodlewear collaboration collection, a fusion of art and fashion that promises to add a touch of creativity to your wardrobe.